Series: Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports

Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Council for British Archaeology
Historic Environment Scotland
ADS Digital Resource logo  ADS Digital Resource
ADS Collection DOI https://doi.org/10.5284/1017938
Web Contact: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland: email
Associated OrganisationSociety of Antiquaries of Scotland
Primary logo
  • Browse
  • Details
  • Statistics
  • Search
Series Publication Type: Series Publication Type image
Records per page:
Previous   Page 1 of 5   Next
Filter results by issue title, e.g. 'roman military station'
Filter info icon Filter:
Wait (Spinner) image

Please click on an Issue link to go to the Issue Details.
Issue Title Sort Order up arrow Access Type Publication
Type
  Author / Editor   Abstract Publication
Year Sort Order no arrows
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Megan Stoakley
In 2016, Wardell Armstrong undertook an archaeological excavation at St Mary’s (Leith) RC Primary School, Edinburgh. The archaeological excavation revealed four phases of activity; Phases 1 and 2 comprised coffined and uncoffined human burials. The lack of infectious pathognomic skeletal lesions, the dating of the finds, the dendrochronological analysis of the coffin wood and technological data, along with the known historic land-use of the area, all indicate that the burial ground relates to the 1645 outbreak of plague in Leith. Dendrochronological analysis revealed a terminus post quem felling date of c 1640 for the coffin wood, while analysis of the coffins’ manufacture revealed hasty construction methods. Phase 3 comprised a series of waste disposal pits of 19th-century date. Phase 4 comprised levelling deposits, which were likely associated with the construction of the school and the demolition of the 19th-century smallpox hospital located to the north of the site. A total of 81 individuals were interred at the site. Adults represent 68.3% while non‐adults represent 31.7%. All age groups were present except neonates. Artefacts including keys, coins, sewing kits and combs were recovered. That the bodies were interred seemingly fully clothed and the corpses not rifled prior to burial strongly indicates a fear of the diseased corpse. The presence of everyday items on the bodies may also indicate a more sudden death outside the sick bed, possibly indicating the occurrence of septicaemic plague. Frequent occupation and attrition-related skeletal and dental pathologies indicate lives characterised by poverty and toil. Strontium analysis revealed that almost all individuals were local to Leith; several individual had rosary or paternoster beads, indicating a likely Catholic affiliation, which would have been risky given that the pro-Presbyterian Covenant was signed in Leith in 1638. In contrast to older children, the younger children were interred in coffins, indicating differing views on the treatment of the body.
Abstract icon
2019
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Magnus Kirby
Three ring-ditches, interpreted as a Bronze Age barrow cemetery, and a large ditched enclosure of likely medieval date were excavated at East Linton in advance of residential development. Cremation burials were recovered from all three of the ring-ditches, from their upper ditch fills and from a central pit in one of the ring-ditches. Also mixed into the fills were sherds of pottery, a few lithics, and two stone grinders/rubbers. A large pit close to one of the ring-ditches, which may have been used to dispose of the residue ash from one or more funeral pyres, was also excavated and provides an insight into the wider ritual activity taking place on or near the site. To the east of the barrow cemetery, a meandering length of ditch is considered to be medieval in date and probably forms an enclosure. Radiocarbon determinations produced Middle Bronze Age dates for samples of cremated human bone, with charred grain producing Iron Age and medieval dates.
Abstract icon
2018
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Alastair MacLaren
Two rescue excavations at the northern edge of a rather sparsely occupied part of the interior of Caithness are reported here, lying near to one of the largest clusters of archaeological sites in the modern county. In the event, the monuments were not threatened, and survive.<br /><br />Because of the limited nature of the excavation at Loch Shurrery (NGR ND 043568),the main value of the evidence about the hut circle relates to its structure and dating. The excavated remains represented a medium-sized oval house with a west-facing entrance. It had an off-centre hearth of rectangular construction. It was rather different in structure to the majority of the small group of such sites which have been excavated in the northern part of the Scottish mainland, as it did not appear to have an internal ring of post holes. In addition, its western entrance is not matched at the other sites, where entrance orientations are to the south, east or south-east. The wall of the Loch Shurrery house was fairly thick and the excavation suggested that it was complex, while the entrance passageway was quite long. The existence of door checks is also an unusual feature and may relate to the entrance structures of brochs and other substantial roundhouses. Two samples of charcoal from the hearth inside the hut circle were submitted for radiocarbon dating: the determinations produce calibrated ranges (at 2-sigma) of 346-4 cal BC and 341 cal BC-1 cal AD. It is likely that most of the excavated, undecorated pottery is also Iron Age, part of a broad tradition of very coarsely tempered pottery. Not-withstanding evidence of extended occupation, the whole period of construction and occupation may have occurred within the Iron Age.<br /><br />The mound of Lambsdale Leans (NGR ND 051548)lies in Reay parish, situated on low-lying ground at the head of Loch Shurrery and close to where its main tributary (the Torran Water) enters the loch from the south. The main characteristics of the this partially-excavated site are the presence of what appeared to be two extended inhumations and the remnants of possible structures associated with several layers of burnt material. Lambsdale Leans itself was a natural mound, of elongated shape and composed largely of sand, into which were set the burials and structural remains. The burials (one certainly female, the other probably so) were not in cists. The structural remains, while not fully excavated, accord well with the general tenor of the available evidence of later first millennium AD buildings in the north of Scotland. Both structures at Lambsdale Leans had floors comprising roughly laid paving, edged with upright slabs, and with an outer kerb of stones. The earliest-dated pottery sherds, unstratified, are from a single grass- tempered handmade vessel whose form cannot be determined. Overall,on one interpretation the Lambsdale Leans evidence favours a context within the Early Medieval period in Caithness. The pottery however, being mostly C12-C13 oxidised wheel-thrown vessels, can be seen to support the suggestion that occupation on the site may have begun in the Medieval period.
Abstract icon
2003
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Michael Cressey
Sue Anderson
Construction in 1996 at a major retail development site close to Inverness, Highland resulted in the destruction of two known cropmark sites. One set of cropmarks was found to be associated with a Bronze Age log-boat burial site and the results of the ensuing excavation are published elsewhere (Cressey &amp; Sheridan 2003). The excavation of a second area of cropmarks forms the subject of this publication. The archaeological remains consisted of a series of negative features, post-holes and annular ditches which form parts of at least nine separate structures of a later prehistoric unenclosed settlement. A mould fragment indicated Late Bronze Age sword production in the vicinity. A palisaded enclosure produced a copper-alloy brooch that is a rare find for the region. Evidence of copper-alloy objects and metalworking from a smelting hearth and slags show that the occupants were of some status. Some of the structural and artefactual evidence compellingly points to an in situ ironworking workshop. A large cache of smithing charcoal found in association with a smelting hearth was radiocarbon dated to 180BC-AD70 and represents one of the few dated in situ Iron Age ironworking episodes in Scotland.
Abstract icon
2011
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Heather F James
Excavations at Laigh Newton North-West Ayrshire in advance of quarrying revealed a rare late medieval farmstead consisting of a palisaded enclosure, four sunken stone- and turf-built buildings, one of which maybe a charcoal kiln, two possible timber-built structures and drainage ditches. The pottery and radiocarbondates indicate that the site was occupied in the 14th–15th centuries. It is thought that this site belonged to the farm of Newton, which was first documented in the late 14th century within the parish of Galston. At that time the parish of Galston belonged to the Lockhart family. The site probably went out of use in the 16th or 17th century as a result of a change of ownership and the increased commercialisation of farming practice. As a result the structures were demolished or allowed to decay, the ditches were filled in and the land turned over to arable.
Abstract icon
2017
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Lindsay Dunbar
Rob P Engl
Excavations in advance of a phased commercial development have revealed a palimpsest of activity spanning the Middle Bronze Age to the medieval period. There was a scatter of domestic settlement in the Middle Bronze Age and pre-Roman Iron Age, together with small ring-groove features which may be the remnants of a barrow cemetery forming part of a later prehistoric ritual landscape centred on Huly Hill. Perhaps the most significant discovery of these excavations is the identification of a section of Roman road which probably represents the westward extension of Dere Street linking Inveresk and Carriden. Its discovery provides solid evidence for the routeway that the milestone at Ingliston and the temporary camps at Gogar have always intimated. Finally, the area was farmed in the medieval period, the associated settlement probably lying to the north of the excavated area. The dating evidence suggests two distinct phases of activity, in the 11th to 12th centuries and in the 13th to 14th centuries, a pattern reflected in other medieval settlement in the Lothians.
Abstract icon
2016
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Stuart Mitchell
Sue Anderson
An archaeological excavation at Hallhill, Dunbar, has revealed the remains of a rural medieval settlement. Few such sites have been identified in Scotland. Two irregular structures, an enclosure and other possible structures, as well as numerous pits and several gullies and ditches were identified. Large quantities of medieval pottery were recovered from the fills of many of the features, as well as animal bone, coarse stone and metal artefacts. Further to the north, a sub-square ditched enclosure was also found, although this could not be stratigraphically related to the medieval remains and is undated. Adjacent to it was a pit containing incomplete remains of a human skeleton which have been dated to the Late Bronze Age. The work was sponsored by George Wimpey East Scotland Ltd.
Abstract icon
2011
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Stuart Mitchell
Fay Oliver
Tim Neighbour
The remains of two 19th-century row cottages and associated structures and deposits were discovered at Jack's Houses, near Kirkliston. Nearby agricultural remains included a field system with boundary walls, drains and a draw well. A large rubbish dump containing pottery and ceramics has been interpreted as urban waste imported to the site to be added to the land in order to break up the clay soil for cultivation. A historical study undertaken in combination with the archaeological work afforded a view into the lives of the transient agricultural labourers and their families who occupied the houses over a century. The combined disciplines have provided us with a rare insight into a part of rural social history from the early-mid 19th to the early 20th centuries.
Abstract icon
2009
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon David H Caldwell
Geoffrey Stell
Excavations were undertaken at Achanduin Castle, Lismore, Argyll (NGR: NM 8043 3927), over six seasons from 1970 to 1975 under the direction of the late Dennis John Turner (1932–2013), henceforward referred to as DJT. Partly funded by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and with tools and equipment loaned by RCAHMS (now Historic Environment Scotland), the work was carried out in support of the RCAHMS’s programme of survey in the Lorn district of Argyll. Its purpose was to examine an apparently little-altered but much-ruined example of a castle of enclosure ascribable to a small but identifiably distinct group of rectangular, or near rectangular, courtyard castles. DJT concluded that it was built c 1295–1310 by the MacDougalls, and only later passed to the bishops of Argyll. The authors add their own observations on the excavations in a separate section. They note tenuous evidence for a pre-castle phase. The bulk of the report focuses on the erection and occupation of the castle, followed by abandonment, post-medieval occupation, collapse/demolition and recent times.
Abstract icon
2017
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Patrick J Ashmore
David W Griffiths
Landscapes characterised by a substantial presence of aeolian (wind-blown) sand are predominantly coastal, and range from active dunefields with high and unstable relief, to smoother and more stable grassed surfaces which may be subject to some degree of agricultural use. Some are remote and inaccessible, but others exist in closer proximity to conurbations and tourist areas, and the impact of visitors is therefore comparatively great. In addition to the ever-present scouring and redistributing forces of sea and wind, other pressures on the stability of these landscapes include aggregates quarrying, development and the ubiquitous presence of wild burrowing fauna, most obviously the rabbit. Sand creates dynamic 'soft' landforms which are subject to continuing change, to the extent that photographs or maps of just 100 years ago often present very different topographies from those visible today. The encroachment of the sea and continual process of wind-induced change can transform a sand landscape almost overnight. In depositional strata, long periods of stasis may be represented by comparatively shallow soil horizons, which are frequently separated by much deeper bands of sand which may result from wind-blow episodes of far shorter timescale. Dune systems frequently occupy zones of extensive past settlement attraction with numerous environmental advantages, and therefore occur in areas of generally high archaeological potential. Yet their complexity and extreme vulnerability present us with serious problems in terms of balancing an understanding of the archaeology with conservation strategies.
Abstract icon
2011
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Alan Saville
Karen Hardy
Roger F Miket
Torben Bjarke Ballin
The An Corran rockshelter, on the north-east coast of the Trotternish peninsula, Skye, contained a series of shell midden and other deposits with evidence for human occupation from Mesolithic and later periods. A rescue investigation of the site in the winter of 1993-94, immediately prior to anticipated total destruction by rock-blasting for roadworks, included the excavation of a trench dug down to bedrock. A total of 41 separate contexts were identi-fied. Of these, 31 were recent or later prehistoric, the upper levels containing a series of hearths of recent date and an Iron Age copper-alloy pin. The lowest 10 layers were identified initially as Mesolithic on the basis of bone tool and lithic typology, but a series of 18 radiocarbon dates indicates they contain the residues of subsequent prehistoric activity as well. These layers consisted of several distinct areas of midden, below which there were two, possibly three, horizons which probably, based on the presence of broad blade microliths, represent Early Mesolithic activity. The midden layers also contained some human bones radiocarbon-dated to the Neolithic period. The rockshelter was located below an outcrop of baked mudstone and near a source of chalcedonic silica. Both these lithic raw materials were widely used during the Mesolithic as far away as the island of Rum.
Abstract icon
2012
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Kirsty Cameron
Melanie Johnson
An unenclosed Early Bronze Age cremation cemetery was excavated by CFA Archaeology Ltd (CFA) during a watching brief associated with the construction of a natural gas pipeline from St Fergus to Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, in the summer of 2001. The cremation cemetery contained 41 pits, 29 of which contained cremated human bone, and 11 of these were associated with Collared or Cordoned Urns. The cremations have been radiocarbon dated, through a combination of charcoal and bone apatite, to 2040 to 1500 BC, and the cemetery is the most comprehensively dated in Britain of this period. A variety of grave goods were recovered, including a pair of Golden Eagle talons and a flint foliate knife. A large Mesolithic pit was found in the same location as the cremation pits and was dated to 4510-3970 BC.
Abstract icon
2012
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Ross White
Chris O'Connell
Fay Oliver
This report presents the results of an excavation and historical study of an early 19th-century settlement at Brunary Burn near Arisaig, Highlands (NGR: NM 6770 8578). CFA Archaeology Ltd carried out the excavation during October 2005 in advance of the realignment and upgrading works of the A830 between Fort William and Arisaig. Two rectangular drystone buildings were excavated, along with a yard area between them. Artefacts recovered included pottery, iron tools, cauldron fragments, slate roofing and clay pipe fragments. The project provided an opportunity to bring together social historical research with archaeological evidence for a somewhat archaeologically under-studied period, and also identified the former inhabitants of the settlement as Angus McEachen and his extended family. The buildings appear to have been occupied for perhaps a single generation before the family was evicted and moved to new accommodation within the area.
Abstract icon
2009
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Mark Collard
John A Lawson
Nicholas M McQ Holmes
The report describes the results of excavations in 1981, ahead of development within the South Choir Aisle of St Giles' Cathedral, and subsequent archaeological investigations within the kirk in the 1980s and 1990s. Three main phases of activity from the 12th to the mid-16th centuries were identified, with only limited evidence for the post-Reformation period. Fragmentary evidence of earlier structural remains was recorded below extensive landscaping of the natural steep slope, in the form of a substantial clay platform constructed for the 12th-century church. The remains of a substantial ditch in the upper surface of this platform are identified as the boundary ditch of the early ecclesiastical enclosure. A total of 113 in situ burials were excavated; the earliest of these formed part of the external graveyard around the early church. In the late 14th century the church was extended to the south and east over this graveyard, and further burials and structural evidence relating to the development of the kirk until the 16th century were excavated, including evidence for substantive reconstruction of the east end of the church in the mid-15th century. Evidence for medieval slat-bottomed coffins of pine and spruce was recovered, and two iron objects, which may be ferrules from pilgrims' staffs or batons, were found in 13th/14th-century burials.
Abstract icon
2006
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Michael Kimber
Archaeological monitoring of water mains renewal in Musselburgh has provided new information on the medieval and post-medieval development of the burgh, as well as adding to known information on the vicus of the Roman fort, the Newbigging pottery and the town mill lade. Activity associated with the Newbigging pottery seems to have extended further to the west than the boundaries of the pottery indicated on 19th-century maps of the town, while Roman remains associated with the vicus survive in places beneath the road surface of Inveresk Brae. However, while archaeological deposits related to the medieval burgh were located broadly where expected, they were fragmentary in comparison with similar deposits from pipeline monitoring schemes in Perth, North Berwick and Crail. The data from Musselburgh are in part less coherent due to the kinds of work monitored within the burgh core, but it is probable that they also reflect a lesser degree of preservation of archaeological deposits beneath the road surface. This is partly due to modern development, and partly due to the geographic situation of the burgh, which does not appear to have encouraged the formation of stratified deposits sealed by wind-blown sand, as in North Berwick, or the anaerobic preservation conditions prevalent within Perth.
Abstract icon
2009
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Iain Banks
Gavin MacGregor
Paul R J Duffy
Between 1996 and 1998, Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) undertook a programme of archaeological investigation at the headquarters of William Grant and Sons Distillers Ltd, Girvan. The work revealed evidence of occupation and use from prehistoric times, including palaeobotanical and pedological evidence of deliberate prehistoric tree clearance, and the presence of six discrete deposits of burnt mound material. The project also confirmed the survival of archaeological deposits relating to the occupation of the medieval moated enclosure of Ladywell. A number of worked lithics, indicative of prehistoric tool making or maintenance, were also recovered.<br /><br />The excavation and post-excavation work allowed an opportunity to explore the occupational, ecological and geomorphological history of the entire length of the valley, from the immediate post-glacial period to the present day. The results contribute significantly to our understanding of the changing patterns of human interaction with environment and landscape over a period of some 10,000 years, both in the immediate area and beyond.
Abstract icon
2008
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Gordon J Barclay
Anna Ritchie
A summary of these specialist reports (Parts 1 and 2) was published in 2008 in the monograph on the Holyrood Parliament Site Project: Scotland's Parliament Site and the Canongate: Archaeology and History by the Holyrood Archaeology Project Team, Chapter 3.9 &amp; 3.10 (HAPT 2008). Except for sections 3.9 and 3.10, Chapter 3 in that monograph has been repeated here as Part 3, in order to provide the archaeological context for the artefactual and environmental evidence alongside the specialist reports.
Abstract icon
2010
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon Mary A MacLeod Rivett
The townships of Barabhas are on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides between the blanket bog of Barabhas Moor to the east, and machair and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The Barabhas Machair (centre NB 351 513) has been eroding for at least a century, and of archaeological interest for nearly as long. Survey and excavations over the last 40 years have revealed settlements from the Early Bronze Age to the present day, in a landscape that has been used and reused. This paper is the first of a series presenting the results of this fieldwork, reporting on the results of the surveys and on the results of initial documentary research, and has been produced as part of a wider post-excavation project supported by Historic Environment Scotland.
Abstract icon
2018
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon John A Atkinson
This volume presents the results of archaeological investigations between 1996 and 2005, carried out as part of the Ben Lawers Historic Landscape Project, a multi-disciplinary project based on north Loch Tayside in the Central Highlands of Scotland. Archaeological surveys and excavations formed the core of the Ben Lawers Project, but many other disciplines also contributed to researching this landscape. Some of these partner projects are reported here, while others have been presented elsewhere (Tipping et al 2009), and some have formed part of doctoral research projects (Watters 2007). The results of the 13 field seasons, particularly the nine evaluation and excavation seasons, together with the results of the partner projects, specialist studies and scientific analyses, have provided a body of evidence which permits the story of the land of Lawers to be told. The historical continuum in that story can be used to curate and manage this landscape for generations to come.
Abstract icon
2016
Download available from the ADS Publication Type icon John W Barber
Anne Crone
Ronan Toolis
Hebridean sites of the coastal sand cliffs and associated machair, or sandy plain have been known for many years. Artefacts and ecofacts of various types have long been collected from archaeological sites in the eroding sand-cliffs of the machairs of the Outer Hebrides. Early in 1983, personnel of the then Central Excavation Unit of Historic Scotland's predecessor revisited very nearly all of the coastal archaeological sites then known in the Long Isle, with the specific task of identifying those at immediate threat from coastal erosion and of assessing the feasibility of their excavation or preservation. Some 32 sites were seen to be undergoing active erosion; at nine of them preservation was not being pursued and excavation was feasible. These sites were of two morphotypes: sites exposed in roughly vertical sand-cliffs and sites exposed over relatively large horzontal areas of sand deflation. It was decided to examine one sand-cliff site along its exposed face. The site selected was Balelone in North Uist, its excavation designed to explore both the problems associated with the excavation of deep midden sites with complex stratigraphy and the not-inconsiderable problems of excavation in sand. In the light of the Balelone trial excavation, a new approach was called for. A structured approach aimed firstly at establishing the three-dimensional extent of the sites to be examined. Four sites were then sampled (the sand-cliff sites of Baleshare, on the island of the same name off the west coast of North Uist and Hornish Point, South Uist and the deflation sites of South Glendale, South Uist and Newtonferry, North Uist) within a rigorously-defined research framework.<br /><br />The machair sites were formed by sand accretion, facilitated by human activities ranging from construction to refuse disposal and cultivation. Their formation was intermittent and they underwent episodes of major erosion, isolating the sites from the landscape mass of the machair sands. Despite their apparent wealth of suitable material, the dating of Hebridean coastal sites presents special problems. The strategy here was to provide a dating framework for the sequences on each site, from which the dates of archaeological significant structures and events could then be arrived at by extrapolation. Preliminary dates from the earliest and latest strata at Balelone spanned such a small period that a First Millennium BC date-range could be assigned. At Baleshare, the deposits investigated were chiefly later Bronze Age; following abandonment (roughly 200 radiocarbon years) of the Period I cultivated soil Period II represented extensive, manured, cultivated fields in the vicinity of a settlement now lost to the sea. As Period II went on. the settlement seems to have moved closer to the excavated area. After another hiatus of a minimum of 350 radiocarbon years, there were further cultivated plots and associated settlement of Iron Age date (Period III). By contrast, the site at Hornish Point (including successive wheelhouses and associated cultivation areas) is considered to be all of one - dynamic, Iron Age - period, lasting some 300 radiocarbon years (with potentially earlier structures unexcavated). A post-medieval blackhouse of characteristic Lewisian form had been cut into the settlement mound. The three dates from Newtonferry suggest that some Early Medieval activity took place at the site, while the bulk of the deposits date from the thirteenth-fourteenth centuries AD. At South Glendale, the radiocarbon dates indicate occupation sometime between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries AD; stratigraphically lower, fragmented and truncated remains were prehistoric, probably early Bronze Age.
Abstract icon
2003
 
Previous   Page 1 of 5   Next
Other logoOther logo